Again I Say Rejoice

— Dana

I never remember to blog when life is going well. Writing tends to helps me organize my thoughts and emotions when life is hard. So, I’m going to take a few moments to reflect on all the things that are going well.

First World Joys

* We have clean water. AND it is hot when it’s suppose to be. AND it’s staying in the right pipes and not spraying all over things that need to be dry. AND it’s coming out of the pipes with the correct water pressure now. All these things are unnecessary for survival (except the clean water part), but I’m appreciating them in my life right now.

* I am finally feeling better. No. Really. After my miscarriage in November, I just felt crummy. Now that my hot flashes are gone and hormones have settled down…AND I stopped eating gluten after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease…AND I needed four different medications to cure the four different infections that I’ve had the last few months…NOW I feel amazing. I can’t believe how much energy I’ve had the last few days. I’m thankful that I **only** needed 8 hours of sleep, and I don’t need caffeine to stay awake. It’s like I’m a new person.

* Speaking of Celiac Disease, It’s been 9 months since I started cutting gluten out of my diet. I realized this week that it has finally become my “new norm”. I don’t crave gluten filled foods. I don’t have an emotional response to food in the same way I use to. I’ve learned to just go without a lot of food that made me sick for so long. It helps that I actually feel better!!! I just can’t believe it’s been 9 months already!!! Hooray for eating food that’s good for me…and for amazing family and friends that go the extra mile to make sure I have something to eat at social gatherings. This has become my ultimate love language (I totally feel loved when someone plans ahead and thinks of me when it’s not something they are use to thinking about).

* The last few months, I’ve found a lot of contentment in many areas of my life. With my house. With only having one child. With the way I look. With my car. With my emotions. With who I am right now. With my decisions. It’s nice to feel comfortable in my own skin and know who I am apart from other people. You could say I’m becoming a “real” adult now.

* Not too many people know this, but I was diagnosed with PTSD in January. Between acupuncture and counseling, my memory flashes and panic attacks have disappeared (I’m sure the prayers of others has helped as well). I’m still knee deep in processing things, but I feel like I’ve come a long way the last 6 months (the latter half of the year looks more hopeful at this point than it did at the beginning of the year). I’m thankful for acupuncture and counseling.

* I really have a great support system. In every piece of literature I’ve read this year, the authors always emphasize that a support system of friends and family is the #1 indicator if someone is going to “make it” emotionally. I had no idea how fortunate I was to have so many people to lean on for support. It’s nice to sit here and reflect on the many that have played a vital role in my life. I know quality people.

* Speaking of support system, I’m totally in love with my husband. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that guy. Last night, I was thinking about the last 14 years, and I realized that Aaron and I laugh a lot together. I thought about how it’s been a year in which we didn’t get to laugh a whole lot. It’s been a year where we both were just holding on…like “once upon a time” we were in the “Just Married” car with tin cans clanking behind…but this past year we’ve been out of the car, holding onto those tin cans for dear life while getting drug around on the pavement. I thought about how nice our laughter is. And then I smiled. Aaron is my joy.

* And then there is my precious little angel, Naomi. Where do I even begin to explain her? She is my best friend and my worst enemy. She is the best and worst of both Aaron and myself. She came into our lives at just the right time and wrecked everything for our utmost benefit. Naomi really pushes me to be a better person. I’m thankful for every part of her…and everything that she is becoming. I’m also thankful for all that she brings into my life.

* I also LOVE my church. It’s nice to be a part of a group of people that really love simple church. That love messy people. That don’t major on the minors. That don’t expect uniformity (actually, they encourage unique thinking and discourage cloning each other). That let me work through my ugly parts and still love me. That love Jesus in tangible ways. That refuse to use clipboards…who never fight about the arrangement of tables and chairs…and are doing good things in our neighborhood and all through out the world. It’s a great place to be. They are a great group of people. You could say they are my kind of people. I’m glad I belong to them and they belong to me.

* Work is so good. I seriously love my job(s). I’m doing bookkeeping for SIX churches now…and I love every minute of it (even when I have to deal with incompetent people that work for the IRS). There are days when I sit back and marvel at how this career just fell into my lap…and how God really handpicked this gifting for me. I can’t imagine living life without being a bookkeeper for churches and non-profits. It totally fills me up!!! However, there are days when I need to learn how to mange my anxiety…but doesn’t every job have it’s stressful moments? Where can I find a job that lets me make my own hours AND work from home AND find fulfillment every time I work? I’m also thankful that my husband gets to work from home (especially while Naomi is little). We’ve been able to experience so many highs and lows together as a family. I’m SO thankful for our jobs!!!

* Speaking of careers, I’m so excited to start expanding my accounting knowledge this summer. I’m going back to college next month!!! I’ve wanted to do this for YEARS now, and I finally feel like I’m moving forward on a long-term goal. AND I get the next three years paid for with grants and scholarships!!! I just about fell out of my seat when I read my FASFA award letter. How cool is that? I get to follow my dreams and avoid going into debt. This is a HUGE blessing since we paid off all our debt a few years ago. I was avoiding school because that meant more debt. But God is faithful in so many ways and heard my desires to go back to school.

* I know this sounds silly, but I am thankful my cat is still alive. Not only is Figaro alive, he is gaining weight…and the vet told me last month he is showing no symptoms of having a tumor (so she told me to not tell him he has a tumor and maybe he’ll be fine). I seriously love this cat. His has been one of my greatest comforters when I’m lamenting and has provided ample humor  over the years (especially when he wrestles with our other cat, Pumpkin). He was my first “baby” when I moved out of the house. As selfish as it sounds, I still need him for a few more years. I’m so grateful he decided to save the last of his 45 lives (he seems to have an ample supply of “cat lives”). I’m also enjoying the fact that my cat looks like a lion. We get both of them shaved every summer to provide some humor around the house during the summer months…and they seem happier without their think winter coats.

* I will end with this last thought. I’m happy Jerry accepted our offer to live with us (again) last April. Since he doesn’t have to pay rent, it gave him the extra funds to see a doctor this year. He was recently diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. I don’t know why God thinks we are up to the challenge to care for Jerry, but I’m hopeful that the Lord will give us all that we need (even if it’s emotional resolve). It is always an adjustment to have someone move in and out of our home, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. As Naomi likes to tell people, “There are four people in our family. Don’t forget to count Jerry.” He is our family. It’s an honor to care for him. I feel like I could do a better job each day, but I really feel like I’m becoming a better person because he is here. I do know Naomi brings joy into his soul. If that’s all I can offer some days, I will take that as a job well done for the day.


My Meditation Verse: Philippians 4:4-9

“Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.”